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Tigers soccer season ends on penalty kicks in Calhoun
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Senior Raleigh Payne fires a free kick into the night during a regular season game at Tiger Stadium earlier in the year. - Photos courtesy of Ryan Coker for the Dawson County News

After an 0-7 start to the season, the Dawson County varsity boys’ soccer team went on to win four of their final six games of the season against regional opponents to qualify for the GHSA state tournament for the fourth year in a row.

“We had a very tough schedule, and I am proud of our boys who played like champions,” Head Coach Patrick Muenchen said. “They never quit in any match and fought hard every game.”

That fighting spirit was put to the test when the region 7-AAA No. 3 Tigers traveled to Calhoun on April 24 to face the region 6-AAA No. 2 Yellowjackets in round one of the GHSA state tournament. After battling tooth and nail over 90 minutes of regulation play the game was finally determined by penalty kicks and the Dawson County’s season came to an end in a 4-2 shoot-out loss.

“The boys played their hearts out in Calhoun,” Muenchen said. “We had at least 10 goal line saves by our keepers and defenders.”

As had been the case for most of the season, foul trouble also haunted the Tigers through the game as team captain Patrick Rosales had incurred a red card in the previous game and was forced to watch this year’s tournament action from the sidelines.

“We stayed in foul trouble all season and played eight of our 14 matches with at least one starter out due to red card issues,” Muenchen said. “This affected our formation and effectiveness.”

The match also marked the final game as a Dawson County Tiger for the team’s 13 seniors, to include goalkeeper Braden Davison, the impact of which was not lost on Coach Muenchen as the Tigers finished the season with an overall record of 4-10, and a regional record of 4-2.

“Next year will be a reboot of our program,” Muenchen said. “I am encouraged that we will have some returning starters and that our junior varsity finished the season strong and developed into a passing and shooting team.”